Event celebrates life of cancer victim
A fundraiser planned for a woman battling cancer became instead a way to help pay for her funeral after she died before the event.
Maria Caisey lost her fight just three days before organiser Jamal Hart held the Catch A Fire event to raise funds to assist her with her medical expenses.
“Mr Hart said: “It became a bit of a celebration of her life.
“Maria was a massive lover of reggae music. People knew her as a joyous, supportive person and they were able to celebrate that.
“And her family were very, very appreciative. They were very grateful and happy to see the number of people who came out in support.”
Mr Hart said he and Ms Caisey grew up in the same area of Southampton, and she often attended track and field events in which he competed.
He explained he felt the need to do something to support her after she was diagnosed with cancer.
Mr Hart launched a series of events to raise money for her medical expenses through his production company One Love Productions.
Ms Caisey’s condition deteriorated weeks before the Catch A Fire fundraiser,
Mr Hart said: “Everything was set in motion, but she was sent to the Agape House hospice two weeks before the event and a week later she unfortunately passed away.”
Mr Hart said, rather than cancel the event, it became a tribute to Ms Caisey which raised $1,000 for her family to help pay funeral costs.
He added: “It was emotional in that it was, I think, a chance for people to exhale knowing that her struggle was over.
“For me, there was a sense of release knowing she was no longer in pain.”
Mr Hart said several performers took to the stage at Snorkel Park in Dockyard for the 11-hour event.
He said: “More than 500 people came out for the all-nighter and it was sweet vibes all night long.”
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